Saturday, September 29, 2012

Crockpot Greek Yogurt

by Peg Cochran

I found several recipes on-line for how to make your own yogurt.  When I found one for making yogurt in your crockpot--something I already had--I was thrilled!  It's really easy and in the morning--surprise! You have Greek yogurt (after straining) for a fraction of the cost of a store-bought brand.  As my girlfriend said when she made it, she expected to wake up and find herself wearing Berkenstocks.  It's such an earthy, grounding experience to make your own yogurt.

You'll need a crockpot and a thermometer.  Most recipes called for a candy thermometer, but I found that an instant read one works just fine.  And you'll need some starter that has LIVE cultures in it.  I bought a container of one of the popular brands of Greek yogurt, and it had six different live cultures in it.  It's a little creepy to think about eating live anything, so I didn't dwell too much on that part!  You'll need about half a cup.  After you make your first batch, you can freeze (yes, freeze) a half a cup of it to start your next batch.

Pour 1/2 gallon of milk into your crockpot.  I use 1/2% but you can use skim or whole or whatever you prefer.  Turn your crockpot to low.  Depending on the age of your crockpot (older=colder) it may take anywhere from 2.5 to 3 hours to reach 180 degrees.  Check it  with your trusty thermometer to be sure. When the milk reaches that temperature (you'll see bubbles around the edge), turn off the crockpot and take off the lid.  You want the milk to cool to between 105 to 110 degrees.  That will take an hour or more.

Once you've hit that temperature, whisk in your starter, cover it and wrap it all up in a giant beach towel.  Leave it on the counter overnight, and in the morning you'll have yummy, delicious, additive-free yogurt!

Milk heating in the crockpot

Sitting overnight wrapped in a towel

Straining the fresh yogurt to make Greek  yogurt

Finished product!
To make Greek yogurt, line a strainer with two layers of cheesecloth or a clean, white tea towel and place in a large bowl.  Spoon in your yogurt and place in fridge.  You may need to empty the bowl occasionally of the "whey" which will drain from the yogurt.  Drain it until it reaches the desired thickness.  I sometimes leave some of it to drain for 8 hours while I'm at work.  It gets to be as thick as sour cream and can be used to make dips for raw veggies.  If it gets too thick, you can stir some of the whey back in.

I read that you can make ricotta cheese with the whey, but it requires a LOT more than one batch of yogurt will produce so I haven't tried it.  I also read that instead of throwing the whey down the drain, water your plants with it!  It's good for them!
First in my Gourmet De-Lite Series
Writing as Meg London


  1. You can store the whey in a jar in your fridge for up to ten days. Use it to replace the water in your bread and bagel recipes. :-)

  2. Thanks, Jennifer. Love the idea of not wasting anything!

  3. Whey is supposed to be great for us. They sell powdered whey at health food stores and it always has an athlete on the container -- must mean something! One of my friends saves the whey to put in her dogs' food.

    Peg, I love this post. I had no idea you could make yogurt in a crock pot. So much easier than buying yet another gadget. My mom has been making her own yogurt for years and years. FWIW, she has come to the conclusion that 2% milk gives the best flavor.

    I may try this. Seems like I've been buying a lot of yogurt lately!

    ~ Krista

  4. Do you add the live cultures initially with the milk? I didn't see any reference to it in your directions. It sounds so easy I'll have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  5. Kaaren, thanks for the catch! Oops. Back to make a fix. You add them after the milk has cooled down.

  6. How much finished "commercial" style thin yogurt does 1/2 gallon of milk yield, and how much Greek yogurt? Would using whole milk vs. any other percent milk change the quantity produced? Thanks.

  7. Thanks for your comment! I don't think the percentage of fat in the milk would change the quantity but so far I've only made it with 1/2% since we are watching our fat. As to how much it produces...I am terrible at estimating quantities. I'd say it makes about 2 large (store bought) containers worth and you lose about 1/5 of it when you strain it. You can see in the picture of the large bowl how much it made. You're definitely saving $$ over buying store bought (at least over Fage or Oikos or one of those brands.) Plus you know exactly what's in it--milk and live cultures!